In 2015, PFIP and the Central Bank of Samoa (along with two other Pacific Island Countries) co-published a large scale demand-side survey, building a comprehensive picture of the country’s financially under-served segments, including women. The results were used as the main evidence base in developing Samoa’s first national financial inclusion strategic plan.
The Financial Services Sector Assessment (FSSA), a situational analysis of financial sector development in Samoa, was launched in March 2016. The assessment identified opportunities for financial service providers, government and development partners in bridging the gap between demand and supply of services, such as the need for tailored inclusive insurance, mobile money and agent networks geared towards rural customers.
Using the evidence from the demand-side and supply-side studies, PFIP has supported the Central Bank of Samoa in developing a medium-term National Financial Inclusion Strategy, which has been endorsed by the government and financial service providers, who, together, have created a National Financial Inclusion Taskforce to implement the Strategy.
Accessibility and the belief that they cannot afford to save, have been two of Samoa’s biggest impediments to financial inclusion in Samoa.With only 39% of the population having any form of access to a financial service, PFIP partnered with the National Bank of Samoa (nbs) in October 2018 to connect Digicel’s mobile money platform to a bank account. EziBank combines nbs’ banking services with the payment services available through Digicel Mobile Money. The product allows customers to check their bank account balance, save their remittances received via Digicel Mobile Money into their nbs bank account, make deposits and withdrawals between their Digicel and nbs account.
For most Samoans, funeral payments are one of the big expenses in life creating severe financial stress trying to meet traditional obligations that can cost families up to $50,000 WST. In October 2018, PFIP partnered with Apia Insurance Company to launched funeral insurance. The product is also offered to Samoans living abroad who would like to cover family members premiums. The product may also expand to group cover in 2019.